Urgent warning issued to motorists as ‘risky’ fuel-saving tricks may lead to collisions

Urgent warning issued to motorists as ‘risky’ fuel-saving tricks may lead to collisions

Despite the fuel prices dropping in recent weeks, drivers are still likely to practice hypermiling. This is when motorists attempt to get the best mileage out of their cars, in turn saving fuel and money. The latest RAC Fuel Watch indicates that drivers will have to pay 174.79p per litre of unleaded and 185.40p for diesel on average.

Motoring experts warned that some of the most common fuel-saving techniques can be dangerous.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, previously said: “The UK’s roads are still very busy and when you are driving you need to concentrate on your safety and that of others first and foremost.

“Some hypermiling techniques demand high concentration levels which could distract you from safe driving.

“Going far too slowly can also irritate other drivers who don’t know what you are doing and that can lead to road rage.”

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Experts at CarSite also revealed some of the most dangerous hypermiling techniques.

These include:

Drafting

This involves driving close behind another vehicle, usually a van or lorry, essentially using the forward vehicle’s body to shield your own car from wind and so reduce drag. Drafting is dangerous for obvious reasons. Tailgating is illegal (it’s classed as dangerous driving), and by doing this hypermilers are inviting a crash. Reaction times and braking distance are severely reduced at this range, making a collision more likely should the car in front suddenly slow; following too closely is responsible for five percent of traffic collisions, while sudden braking makes up a further five percent of accidents.

Coasting

Coasting is another potentially dangerous technique. Some hypermilers turn the engine off while in motion, which can cut power to steering and braking assists, and potentially engage the steering lock. More responsible hypermilers instead use coasting when going downhill or approaching junctions, lifting off the throttle early and letting the car carry itself forward. While not illegal, drivers involved in an accident while coasting may be found to be at fault as they were not fully in control of the car. In addition, more and more modern cars have systems that enable safe coasting by automatically cutting off the engine when going downhill, but still allowing full control of steering and braking.

Ridge riding

A US hypermiling technique that is starting to see use elsewhere is ridge riding. This involves driving off-centre in a lane to avoid the ‘ridges’ left in the road by other drivers. In the US, with wide, straight roads, this technique may work. However, UK roads tend to be more narrow, and driving off-centre is likely to place the vehicle dangerously close to oncoming traffic.

Published at Mon, 15 Aug 2022 12:34:00 +0000